70's Italian Prog Rock bands: Il Rovescio della Medaglia


Pino Ballarini (vocals, flute)
Enzo Vita (guitar)
Stefano Urso (bass)
Gino Campoli (drums)

new member added: Franco Di Sabbatino (keyboards)

as above without Pino Ballarini


Il Rovescio della Medaglia (RDM) was a 70's Italian progressive rock band playing dynamic prog with many rhythm changes. They were formed in Rome around the end of 1970 from the ashes of the beat band I Lombrichi. Enzo Vita, Stefano Urso e Gino Campoli founded the group, that had as lead singer first Gianni Mereu (not the guitarist of Logan Dwight), then Sandro Falbo (from Le Rivelazioni) and soon later Pino Ballarini, who had moved to Rome from Pescara where he played with Poema. Their first great success was at 1971's Viareggio Pop festival and they soon became one of the most popular live bands in Italy during the early 70's.

Il Rovescio della Medaglia (with Gianni Mereu)-Viareggio Pop Festival 1971

Their first LP, La Bibbia, released in 1971, is a concept album. It's basically a very good hard-rock album with slight prog influences, recorded live in studio and accompanied by a distinctive round medallion-shaped booklet. 

La Creazione

The second album, Io come io, a year later (1972), was in the same style, with ambitious philosophical lyrics inspired from Hegel works. It's a short album (less than 30 minutes), but again a good one.

Non Io

In 1973 a fifth member was added, keyboard player Franco Di Sabbatino, also from Pescara, like Pino Ballarini, and briefly with Il Paese dei Balocchi. With their sound enriched by the keyboards, Il Rovescio  della Medaglia released the third album, Contaminazione, with the help of argentine composer Luis Enriquez Bacalov, who had already worked with New Trolls for their Concerto Grosso and Osanna. The album was obviously more in a symphonic direction, and was also released in an English-sung version and issued in many foreign countries, to try to launch the group abroad. The English language album appeared in Italy in 1975 only. It's a great album based on the life and works of J.S. Bach, very keyboards oriented, heavy guitars and a tight rhythm section. It contains four pieces from Bach's "Well-tempered Clavier" seamlessly integrated with RDM's own music. By this time the band was being renowned for their powerful performances, always played at the loudest possible volume and helped by such a unique sound system that no one else in Italy had such a powerful live act.

Ora non ricordo più

Cella 503

In December 1973 the stealing of their big and expensive power amplifier brought the band close to the end, with Pino Ballarini leaving for Switzerland (briefly replaced by Michele Zarrillo from Semiramis) and the others continuing as an instrumental-only band. The live album ...Giudizio Avrai, privately released by the band in the 1988, contains a recording from 1975, with the band's sound dominated by the keyboards. The last release was the RDM's only single from 1975, Let's all go back/Anglosaxon woman (there's a mention on its cover of a new album, but this was never released). Bassist Stefano Urso founded Europe, authors in the early 80's of an album and some singles in pop/rock style. In early 90's guitarist Enzo Vita reformed the band with a new line-up and released a new CD called Il Ritorno (1995), different from their past production in a commercial pop rock style, as its followers Vitae (1999, but recorded earlier in 1993) and Microstorie, issued in 2011. The albums Il Ritorno and Vitae, released on different labels, contain basically the same tracks. 


Studio albums

La Bibbia (1971):
1. Il Nulla 
2. La Creazione 
3. L'Ammonimento 
4. Sodoma E Gomorra 
5. Il Giudizio 
6. Il Diluvio

Io come Io (1972):
1. Io 
2. Fenomeno 
a) Proiezione 
b) Rappresen tazione 
3. Non Io 
4. Io come Io 
a) Divenire 
b) Logica 

Contaminazione (1973):
1. Absent for this Consumed World 
2. Ora non ricordo più 
3. Il suono del silenzio 
4. Mi sono svegliato e... ho chiuso gli occhi 
5. Lei sei tu: Lei 
6. La mia musica 
7. Johann 
8. Scotland Machine 
9. Cella 503 
10. Contaminazione 1760 
11. Alzo un muro elettrico 
12. Sweet Suite 
13. La grande fuga 

Contamination (1975, English version of Contaminazione):
1. Absent Mind 
2. Orphan Me 
3. Johann's Rock 
4. Another Name Am I 
5. Crazy Baby 
6. Lost Myself Today 
7. Johann 
8. Scotched 
9. I Can Fly 
10. Contamination 
11. Isolation Ward 
12. For The Love Of Anna 
13. Bach Lives 

Il Ritorno (1995):
1. Randy 
2. Bella come il peccato 
3. Un amore di colore 
4. Bette Davis eyes 
5. Fa' un sorriso 
6. Ammutinati 
7. Vasi comunicanti 
8. Dentro di te 
9. Vivi e lascia vivere 
10. Nel mio esistere 

Vitae (1999):
1. Randy
2. Bella come il Peccato
3. Un amore di colore
4. Fa' un sorriso
5. Ammutinati
6. Vasi Comunicanti
7. Dentro di te
8. Vivi e lascia vivere
9. Nel mio esistere

Microstorie (2011):
1. Quale Film
2. Se Non Hai
3. Microstorie
4. Luca's Bar
5. Cattivi Pensieri
6. Dimmi Ancora di Sì
7. Tapis Roulant
8. Grida, Urli & Strilli
9. Ci Sono Giorni
10. Souvenir
11. Hai Mai Tentato
12. Part Time

Live album

...Giudizio Avrai (1988):
1. ...Giudizio Avrai Part 1
2. ...Giudizio Avrai Part 2
3. ...Giudizio Avrai Part 3
4. ...Giudizio Avrai Part 4
5. ...Giudizio Avrai Part 5

La grande fuga